Remembering Sally Kempton

From Sally’s website:

Dear Fellow Friends and Students of Sally Kempton,

This is to share with you the sad news that Sally left her body Monday, July 10, 2023.

Now, a time of mourning begins for those of us who treasured Sally’s company and teachings, and also a time of celebration for us of her life—for who she was and what she gave and meant to us.

Please feel free to offer your prayers for Sally as she makes her last journey in whatever way feels most meaningful, fitting, and sweetest for you. Those who are familiar with it can chant the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, which is traditionally chanted at such times.

Some are familiar with a tradition in which prayers are said for departed loved ones for 13 days after their passing, at the end of which the community gathers to offer prayers, mourn their loss, celebrate the life of their loved one, and offer each other support and comfort. It was Sally’s wish that a special service be held in her memory for her community of students. Honoring this request, we will be holding a 13-day ceremony for Sally via Zoom, on Sunday, July 23rd. (Details will be provided to her friends and students on her mailing list.)

Wishing you all many blessings and immersion in the healing balm of love in the days ahead.

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Oṃ tryaṃbakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣhṭivardhanam
urvārukam iva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣhīya mā’mṛtāt

Meet Sally

One evening in the early 1970s, while sitting in her Manhattan living room, Sally Kempton was overcome by a feeling of all-encompassing, unconditional love that seemed to come out of nowhere. She had never known that love like this was possible. The experience lasted for 24 hours, and turned her life around.

At the time, Kempton had a flourishing career as a New York journalist, writing on popular culture, the arts, and feminist issues for Esquire, the New York TimesNew York magazine, and The Village Voice. An early voice in the second- wave feminist movement, spirituality was the last thing on her agenda. But her experience that night affected her so powerfully that within a year she had given up her career to immerse herself fully as a student and teacher of spiritual awareness.

Two years later, she encountered her Guru, the enlightened Siddha master, Swami Muktananda, and became his full time student. An enlightened master in the Indian yoga tradition, Muktananda (1908-1982) was known for his ability to ignite the latent meditation energy (kundalini) in others through a look or a touch. When Kempton met him, he was traveling in the United States, where he awakened thousands of people to their spiritual potential.

Kempton studied and traveled with Muktananda from 1974 until his passing in 1982. She edited many of his books, received intensive training in the texts of Vedanta, yoga and the north Indian tantric tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, and taught courses around the world. In 1982, Muktananda initiated her into the traditional Saraswati order of Indian swamis, or monks, and gave her the name Swami Durgananda. For the next twenty years, she served as a teacher in the Siddha Yoga meditation community. She created and taught workshops, courses and trainings in meditation and spiritual wisdom, served for a time as editor of the spiritual magazine Darshan, and wrote extensively on all aspects of spiritual life.

Goddess Worship Is The Path to Bliss: Sally Kempton (From SAND 17)

In 2002, Sally was inspired to put aside her monastic identity to create a teaching path that could help students deal directly with the challenges of 21st century life. Her current work interprets the wisdom of the tantras for mature contemporary aspirants, drawing on depth psychology and neuroscience as well as the insights of Integral philosopher Ken Wilber. From her home base in California, she travels extensively, and offers monthly telecourses as well as workshops and retreats that integrate meditation, yoga philosophy, and spiritual life-skills.

Doorways to the Infinite: Sally Kempton

Connect with the timeless teachings of Sally on her website:


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